Mystery over missing letter to boundary commission by South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck
Mystery surrounds a letter that MP Emma Lewell-Buck says she sent to the Boundary Commission backing South Tyneside Council's counter proposal to plans to move a part of South Shields into Jarrow.
The Boundary Commission has put forward proposals to switch Simonside and Rekendyke into neighbouring Jarrow constituency.
In October, Mrs Lewell-Buck told The Gazette that she regarded the controversial plans as “disappointing” and called for residents with concerns to let their views be known to the Commission before the deadline passed.
Husband Simon Buck, who is also employed as her parliamentary aid, made his views known on the Boundary Commission website backing the changes.
Despite all views being displayed on the Boundary Commission website, a search was unable to uncover Mrs Lewell-Buck’s submission.
A spokesman at her office says the MP made her views known in a letter dated December 2, 2016.
A call to the Boundary Commission drew a blank under the MP’s name.
An official suggested asking the MP or her office for a reference number which has been given to all those who have contributed to the consultation process.
Despite repeated requests to her office for the reference number - none was forthcoming.
A spokeswoman later said office staff had been told not to speak to the press and all written requests for information had been forwarded to Mrs Lewell-Buck.
The Boundary Commission explained all correspondence received is given a reference number - regardless of whether it was a comment directly to its website or submitted by email or letter - which are scanned in by staff and uploaded for people to view.
The views of South Tyneside Council are present on the site along with a number of responses - both for and against - to the plans from residents.
A spokesperson for South Shields Labour Party said: “We have made strong representations to the Boundary Commission to keep all South Shields Ward’s together, and have supported the councils counterproposal.”
One resident, who submitted his views to the Boundary Commission, said: “I can’t see what the difficulty is, in providing the reference number.
“I sent a hard copy to the boundary commission of my views and, within days, I received an acknowledgement of my views and a reference number.
“I really can’t see what the difficulty is, in providing this simple piece of information which would clear all this up.”
Views on the Boundary Commission proposals are now closed but comments can be viewed by visiting the website at www.bce2018.org.uk and putting in the South Shields postcode.